Ecopetrol’s Profits Decline for Third Straight Quarter

Ecopetrol SA, the world’s sixth-biggest publicly-traded oil company by market capitalization, said profit dropped for a third straight quarter on a year-on-year basis on lower sales volumes and a rise in costs.

Net income slid 18 percent to 3.62 trillion pesos ($2 billion), from 4.4 trillion pesos a year earlier, the Bogota-based company said today in a regulatory filing after markets closed, in line with the 3.6 trillion peso average estimate of two analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Production climbed 3 percent from a year earlier to 762,000 barrels a day. Proven reserves rose to 1.88 billion barrels in 2012, from 1.86 billion barrels a year earlier.

Ecopetrol will invest $4.2 billion on production and $1.7 billion on exploration as it targets output of 798,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year. The company plans to invest a total $9.5 billion in 2013, it said in December.

Colombia isn’t considering selling any of its 88.5 percent stake in the company this year, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said in an interview last month.

Ecopetrol shares fell 0.7 percent to 5,410 pesos today in Bogota. The company last year overtook Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA in terms of market capitalization.